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What could you do if you could remember more? How beneficial would it be to remember phone numbers when you are out of the office? To link faces with names? To learn things about your job or market quickly and easily? Or to meet several people at once and remember all of their names; first time! Well, I've got some good news for you - you can!

Many experts believe that we all have perfect memories - recording every little thing that ever happens to us in minute detail. This is why hypnosis works to remember details of accidents that you were never consciously aware that you had noticed in the first place! "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had..............." Anyone struggle with that? I doubt it. What about your own name? Or your Mom's? No?! Thing is, we all have great memories - its monitoring what goes into them and accessing the information once its there that's the challenge.

Technical bit! You've probably all heard of the unconscious and conscious parts of the mind. If you like, conscious is the rational side of thought, unconscious the stuff we just do without thinking about it. We don't forget things from the unconscious mind just from the conscious. The challenge we face therefore is 1) keeping things in the conscious long enough that they transfer to the unconscious and 2) accessing them from the unconscious when we need them again.

Remember Anything

Contrary to the conventional wisdom, memory doesn't work like a muscle. You can't exercise your way to a perfect memory. But you can learn tricks and techniques that give you a far better memory than you'd believe possible. Here are the best ones:
  • Chunking. That's the basic technique for short-term memory improvement. How it works: Grouping apparently isolated facts, numbers, letters, etc., into chunks. Thus, the series 255789356892365 turns into 255 789 356 892 365.
  • Sleep and remembering. There is some evidence to indicate that things learned just before sleep are retained better.
  • Spacing. Don't try to memorize by swallowing the whole thing down in one gulp. Instead of a three-hour study marathon, try two 1-1/2 hour spans. Experiment to see what time period is best for you.
  • Reciting. Vocalizing provides a kind of feedback, as you literally hear (in addition to seeing) the words. It also forces you to organize the material in a way that is natural for memory improvement.
  • Story system. A very effective way to remember some obviously unrelated objects. Just make up a silly story, using each of the objects in the story. Thus, if you want to remember the words paper, tire, doctor, rose, and ball, try this story: The paper rolled a tire down the sidewalk, and it hit the doctor, knocking him into a rosebush, where he found a ball.

    Source: Kenneth L. Higbee, author of Your Memory: How It Works and How to Improve It, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Remember People's Names

To remember the names of people to whom you have just been introduced, the classic system is best:
  • Take an interest in the person.
  • Concentrate by looking directly at him or her. Notice appearance and dress.
  • If you forget the name right after hearing it, ask immediately for it to be repeated.
  • Repeat the name to yourself every few minutes. Over the next few days, keep calling the name to mind.
  • Gradually decrease the frequency of repetition.

    Source: Alan Baddeley, author of Your Memory: A User's Guide, Macmillan Publishing, New York, NY

Ever wanted to remember someone's name and struggled and struggled and just not been able to remember it? Then two days later it pops into your head! Or suddenly remembered something in panoramic detail that you haven't thought about in years? The irony of this is that the harder you try consciously the more difficult it is to access the unconscious memory! This is why on television quiz shows people often "forget" things that they "know" really well yet once the pressure is off they remember them straight away!

So what are the keys to having a great memory? Success in all walks of life is a combination of attitude, skills and action. And attitude plays a far larger part than most people give it credit for! Put simply, your attitude enables you to access your skills when you most need them. So many of the memory tips that follow are attitudinally based.

Firstly, it is fundamental that you believe that you can have a great memory! Your subconscious mind works on the messages consistently passed to it by your conscious. So comments such as "I have a great memory" and "I will remember this because ..." are more empowering than "I have a bad memory" or "I will never remember this". Simply changing your attitude and belief about this one thing will significantly improve your memory! If you need evidence for your "new" belief try writing down all of the times you remembered something complex or detailed. You'll be amazed by all of the examples you can come up with.

Second tip is to have a reason for having a great memory. Human psychology is a strange and complicated thing but ultimately our avoidance of pain and our pursuit of pleasure drive us. As such, its amazing what complicated things we can learn when it is necessary to do so or when its to achieve something that we really want. Consider the complexities of learning to talk yet you did this as a child. So if you can attach an increased commission cheque, a promotion, a new client or your new car to remembering something its amazing what a difference that will make. Write down what you want to learn and all of the benefits that will stem from that now!

Third major key is to relax. Research has shown that being relaxed is important for aiding memory. If you are trying to learn something in the privacy of your home classical music can help you to access the brain waves required for accelerated learning. No surprise then that when we put ourselves under pressure we cannot access the right state and massively hinder our memory capabilities. Learning to relax through breathing, meditation, tai chi, yoga or relaxation techniques will have beneficial effects on your memory.

Fourthly we need to create a dynamic picture. Trying to remember words only is very difficult. People who store their memories in pictures find them far easier to remember and access. Infact, it has been shown that dyslexics generally try to remember words verbally whereas good spellers form a picture. Dynamic moving pictures with full colour, sound and feelings will be much more easily remembered than static pictures.

Finally, utilise stories and metaphors to help you to link things together. Try this exercise. Write down 20 unconnected words, turn the paper over and try to remember them. You may well find it hard. Now look at them again but this time tell a ridiculous story to tie them together. Have fun, laugh, relax and make no attempt to remember them. Now turn the paper over and recall the story. Chances are you will do a lot better. In conclusion, believe, have a reason, relax and create dynamic pictures. Have fun discovering the perfect memory that you already have.


Before Writing

If written correctly, classified ads can be a very effective way to make money and build your business. That's the key, they have to be written correctly. A poorly written classified ad will do nothing more than waste your hard-earned money! Reading classified ads on newspapers don't we all come across a few that smelled a little fishy or mistakes that make you laugh?

  1. I have wanted to place this ad for a long time but, because of my shyness and sense of insecurity I have never managed to do it. Well... I am a motivational speaker and I have been thinking of... well... I can't find the words now.
  2. Wanted. Widower with school age children requires person to assume general housekeeping duties. Must be capable of contributing to growth of family.

Most of us find it sad that the litigiousness of our society has compelled manufacturers to place the most obvious of warning messages and instructions on their product packaging. At least we've created one more outlet for humor. So have a good chuckle, and repeat after me: Duh!

  1. Warning: Riders of personal watercraft may suffer injury due to the forceful injection of water into body cavities either by falling into the water or while mounting the craft.
  2. You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

American Comedian Will Rogers once said, "All I know is what I read in the papers". However some busy business men around the world don't even read the papers, just the headlines. Unfortunately, given tight deadlines and constraints of space, the headline writers do not always get it right. Some of the strange newspaper headlines collected by the Columbia Journalism Review over the years and displayed on bathroom walls at the Newseum.

  1. Kicking Baby Considered To Be Healthy, The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press, 1980.
  2. Robber Holds Up Albert's Hosiery, Buffalo (N.Y.) Evening News, 1975.
  3. Hillary Clinton on Welfare, Los Angeles Times, 1995.
  4. Literarcy Week Observed, The Meade County Messenger, Brandenburg, Ky., 1985.
  5. Parking Lot Floods When Man Bursts, The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C., 1994.

There are some interesting signs and there are some very boring signs. However, I like to observe, and sometimes make sense of each sign - what is the message. There must be a reason for the sign. Over the centuries, signs have taken their place in man's culture, recognized as symbols reflecting the business and environmental needs of each era. Signs from earlier days are now recognized and valued as antique artifacts reflecting the American scene, just as many of today's signs will one day be important to those who cherish the symbols of our 20th century culture. So I amuse myself with signs.

  1. On a Front Door: Everyone on the premises is a vegetarian except the dog.
  2. At the Electric Company: We would be delighted if you send in your bill. However, if you don't, you will be.
  3. In a Non-smoking area: If we see you smoking we will assumeyou are on fire and take appropriate action.


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